Visit the Flower Tunnel this Early Summer

Visit the Flower Tunnel this Early Summer

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Visit the Flower Tunnel this Early Summer

We don’t have to go to the countryside or crowded flower show to photograph flowers in Hong Kong. There are many places in the city where you can find beautiful flowers and garden decorations. Un Chau Estate in Cheung Sha Wan, for example, is famous for its red and yellow flower tunnel and is a good location for photography.

Un Chau Estate is easily accessible. The Exit C2 at Cheung Sha Wan MTR station will take you directly to Un Chau Estate, and the flower tunnel is right at the estate’s entrance. This beautiful flower tunnel is mainly made up with red paper flowers (Bougainvillea glabra).

The Relationship between Lens and Perspective

A common way to photograph tunnel is to stand at one end and take photo that shows the path going from the entrance to the far end. The lens’ perspective thus poses a direct impact on how the photo will look like. There is a saying that the perspective of a wide-angle lens is different from that of a telephoto lens. For example, a wide-angle lens will result in a more compressed vision; and a telephoto lens will show a sense of isolation in distance. Is that really the case? Let’s try the experiment below.

With the camera fixed at a location, we take pictures of the same scene using a wide-angle and telephoto focal length respectively.
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 105mm
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 24mm
Seem like the sense of compression is greater in the photo taken at wide end? We do a little cropping in post-editing so that the two photos now have a similar composition and see what we got:
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 105mm
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 24mm (經裁剪)
The result clearly shows that the difference in focal length does not change the perspective in an image. Then why it seems to us that the perspectives of a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens are different? Let’s take a look at the photos below:
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 24mm
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM,Focal Length: 70mm

The Reason for Different Perspectives – Relative Position between the Subject and Camera

Take the above photos as example. In order to maintain a similar composition, we change our position when shooting these two photos. Therefore, shooting distance is the actual reason that creates different perspectives in photos. The closer the distance, the more compressed the image will look. The longer the distance, the objects in the image will look more scattered. As we usually walk up to the subject when using a wide-angle lens and move farther away when using a telephoto lens, this creates an illusion that the difference in perspective is due to the lens types.

Explore Different Ways of Shooting

The flower tunnel is a mere 30-metre long. We need to explore more creative angles to capture special shots in this small area.

Backlit Shots

The petals of paper flowers are very thin. We can shoot into the sun and let the sunlight penetrate through the petals. Adjust to a low contrast level in post-editing to create a warmer tone.

Feature Shots

In addition to capturing a spectacular shot of the sea of flower, a close-up, feature shot of flower is also a nice try. The flowers that make up the tunnel at Un Chau Estate are not growing high. You can easily take a feature shot of the flowers using a 100mm focal length.

Shots with Depth

We have to keep a distance from the subject to create depth; otherwise everything in the scene will be densely compressed. We should use a telephoto lens and walk farther away from the scene to create depth and a sense of layer. If possible, we can add a subject in the composition such as a pedestrian along some point in the layer path. This can help create a focus and lead the eyes of the viewers.
Taken with a telephoto lens from a distance, a sense of distance is created among the various objects in the scene, resulting in a photo with depth
The sense of layer can lead the eyes of the viewers to the main focus. The photo looks more attractive by adding a subject along some point in the layer path
Apart from taking photos of the flowers alone, we can add in other subjects such as the expressions of a flower admirer to create story and make the photo look more interesting

Shots by a Fisheye Lens

We can also use a specialized lens such as a fisheye lens for more creative expressions. Shoot from a low angle to get in all the surrounding environment.
EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM • f/8 • 1/800s • ISO 400
EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM • f/8 • 1/640s • ISO 400
The blossom period of paper flower normally goes from March to early May, and a bit earlier or later depending on the weather. Since the flower tunnel becomes a big hit on the internet recently and many people are going there to take photos, we suggest you to go earlier in the morning when the place is less crowded. Before you go, do some research on the internet and check out the photos taken by others to get some ideas on the shooting techniques and flower condition.
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